Saturday 10 August 2013

I love it when a plan comes together...

..even if it does take 4 weeks!

It's funny, at the start of the last post I began by saying that this would be a hard post to write, due to it all being so long ago.  But it is incredible how quickly it comes flooding back to you once you start to type, and browse through the endless pictures.  Col and I often look through the thousands of photographs we I have taken over the last 7 months and say to each other, "Oh my word, do you remember this" or, "Geez look at this picture I had forgotten about that". And that's what we are both loving about writing this blog.  It forces us to record and document everything we are doing.  It is all very well saying that you intend to take some 'before and after shots' of a particular project, but it's all too easy to get so engrossed in the job at hand, and before you know it, the project is completed and the camera still sits in it's case...ooops! But when your record book is in public view, you HAVE to keep it going not just for your own benefit but also just in case someone is wanting to view it. It was Col who insisted we do this blog, it was all his idea and his reason was purely, 'that it would force us to keep our renovation milestones documented'.  (And the fact that lots of you are reading what we write, makes it all the more worthwhile, so thank you kind readers)

Anyway enough of all that, on to the post.  This is where we were up to, at the end of the last entry.  The floors and walls had been sheeted and wet sealed, the pipes were in place, so what's next?

When you choose to resurface a bathtub, the job is done at the end of your tiling work, i.e you get all the tiling surrounding the area completed and grouted, but you don't silicon seal the edge.  This way when the enameling is done it gets right under the edges of the bath lip and then it gets sealed in afterwards.  (With a basin they would generally remove it from the bathroom and take it away to be done off site, as it is smaller and easier to transport and it would give a better finish)

So we called Bin, our tiler, and he began working his magic, he had just been on a fishing trip up north to Cape York with 4 buddies and brought me back a whole load of fresh fish to cook up, it was delicious...he really is a sweetheart.

As we are a relatively small job for him, he fitted our work in and around his other jobs, so he finished the floor and came back later to grout it, and then came back the following day to do the walls and bath sides (you can see in the picture below (R) how the lip is left unsealed for the resurfacing work).

Finally we were ready for the resurfacing, it consists of a thorough wash down and de-grease of the tub, then all the scratches and cracks are filled (we were lucky that this bath only had one or two minor scratches which were easily filled and polished over), and a layer of the 'putty-like' filler is put across the high use areas, floor, corners etc.  Then it's all buffed off so it fills the areas it needs to and leaves the surface with an allover uniform smoothness.  The whole room, including the ceiling, is then vacuumed with a machine that looks like a relic from the Ghostbusters movie, to make it as clean and dust free as possible therefore reducing the risk of contamination in the spraying process.  Then the room is masked up and the spraying begins.  The time scale you should be looking at is 2 days MAX (5 days including the 3 days to cure in between), most of the time is spent on the prep work the spraying is relatively quick.  Then after it has fully cured (which is 3 or so days) they come back to buff the whole thing up....easy-peasy!!!  (Hmmmmm??!)

As you can see below (L) he has buffed the filler and begun masking off the entire room, the floors and walls were covered to head height with sheets of clear plastic, the window was taped up completely with room for him to add his exhaust fan to the cavity.  The doorway was sealed up and he turned to me and said 'sorry no pictures of this bit as you're not allowed in while I am spraying'.  So Col and I stood in the doorway and said goodbye to our my Pink Princess, after 56 years of faithful pink service she was about to be transformed from her humble beginnings (11/3/1957) and pulled into the 21st Century.

The date of installation of this basin and tub are chalked on the underside and signed by the builder JMcD.


Soon the noise died down and our mate, the bath guy, emerged from the sealed up doorway... and me and my camera were finally allowed in....ta dah!!!!

So at this point you might be thinking...that looks great, so what went wrong and who asked to move in...?!
WELL...if you recall from the last post, I mentioned that our plumber was not happy about our decision to resurface our bath. He told us straight up from the get-go... don't do it! His reasons were three fold.

1- When the old drain covers (in the plug hole) are removed they can often cause many issues, best case they can take ages to remove = lots of time spent by plumber = lots of money spent by owner.  Worst case they can damage the bath when they do eventually come loose.
2 - The finish on the enamel will not be as clean and perfect as a brand new enamel bath that is being sprayed in a clean, sterile, dust free environment.  Thus is could have many imperfections.
3 - The finish once done is delicate, kids bath toys can be dropped and essentially chip or damage it.

So why after all that did we still go ahead?  Well other than the reasons I wrote about on the last post here (hassle/money/size of bath etc), we had heard equally good things about having it done.  We had spoken to a few different companies that do it, and yes they had said the finish will never be as perfect as new, but unless you are really scrutinising the bath up close it will be as perfect as it can be.  The work also comes with a 7 year written warranty so we figured that we wouldn't get that with a brand new bath, so what did we have to lose?!
Initially we thought we'll address problem (1) and that may determine the rest anyway.  So way back before anything was organised we arranged for Greggy, our plumbers mate, to nip round on his way home and see if the plug would cause issues.  Hey presto the thing came out in one or two goes.  So that was the first obstacle tackled. 
I will skip problem (2) and come back to it. 
So with problem (3) we figured the girls can have soft foam bath toys and be none the wiser, any hard toys they already owned would be thrown out, new exciting foam toys will appear, they will be happy and the bath will be protected, plus in all honesty they have far fewer baths here in the tropics, they are more after a quick shower these days. 
And so here we come to problem (2).  Oh yes, little old, minuscule, teeny-tiny problem (2).  A few hours after the bath was re-surfaced Col and I were taking a close look at it and admiring how amazing it looked already before it had even had the final buff and polish.  As we 'scrustinsed' the surface closer (2) we found a mark.  Then another, and another, then a few pieces of cat fur and then a few pin holes, then more pins holes!!  OMG...!! 
Now I know we had been told about the possible imperfections and knew it wasn't going to be pristine and in all honesty the marks were SO tiny they really didn't bother us all that much.  But the pin holes were a worry, they are miniature holes through to the bath surface and therefore not good enough.  So I rang Mark (bath guy) and explained what I saw.  He apologised and said no problems you can still use it from tomorrow and I will just come back next week and patch those areas.  We didn't use it, we wanted it to be perfect before we were going to fill that baby with water. So he came back and began the process again but on a much, much smaller scale, lots of cleaning and re-buffing but the re-enameling was a much quicker process this time with no need to mask up the whole room.  So 4 hours later, he says I'm done I'll be back in 4 days and we can buff it and it'll all be sorted.  Yayy, lets go have a look!  All the marks from before were gone, even the ones we had said not to worry about were fixed.  All the pin holes were gone.  Then just as I was turning around I noticed out of the corner of my eye a mark...a new mark, one he had obviously just made but not seen!  (With the light in that room being mostly natural it causes lots of shine and shadows so in his defence it was often very hard to see things) He explained that it would have been caused by a bead of sweat dripping from his forehead (nice) and setting in the enamel as it dried.  It had caused a huge run-like mark, it couldn't stay like it as it would start to crack where the water had gotten under the enamel.  So off he went and booked in to come back 3 days later. 
To save you the boredom of reading the same stuff over and over, I will cut it short here.  Needless to say this saga went on another 3 times!!  Over the course of 4 weeks.  Each time a problem was fixed, another would appear.  On his fourth trip back (2 weeks into the debacle) he said "can you make room under the house please 'cos I'm moving in this time, that way I won't have to keep driving here twice a week".
Eventually after rescheduling many appointments around his workload and ours, it finally got sorted.  Two days later we had our plumbers round to fit out the rest of the room.  We looked at Greggy and said 'you can tell the boss he was right', and with red faces, humble pie was suitably eaten!  However, in hind sight would we do it again??  Unbelievably our answer would be yes and no.  Mark had said that most jobs go perfectly well without a single hitch, and like anything sometimes, very rarely, you get one that has every issue going.  So I guess we were just unlucky.  So we just Kept Calm and Carried On....
I cleaned the windows and measured up for curtains, while Col put up the mirrored cabinet.


He also put the vanity together ready for when the plumbers came to connect it all up

The sink and toilet were fitted
Greggy's butt The shower head and waterfall bath spout going in.
At long last, three weeks after it should have been finished, our bathroom was completed...ahhhhh!  Now we really can Keep Calm and Soak On - here are the final shots of our loooong awaited bathroom makeover!


And that my friends is it!  Phew!
K xx
PS - If you remember from our first bathroom, we chose the light coded shower head, well we loved it so much we went for the same in this bathroom.  Here it is in all it's glory...not gaudy just a cracking good idea.

Blue for cold

Lilac for just right

Red for too hot!!  Awesome or what!?


  1. Your old bathroom fixtures remind me of my sister's bathroom, except her bath, vanity and toilet were green. They renovated their entire house, but never got round to doing to the bathroom. They just got used to the green I guess. One thing that I have learnt during reno's is that there are ALWAYS hiccups along the way in one form or another, no matter how organised you are. xx

    1. Hi Caroline, the original bathroom fixtures and the basin also remind me of my Grandma's (Ma-Ma)bathroom when I was growing up. The little hiccups I'm sure are to prepare us for other challenges which come up in each subsequent project! A sense of humour certainly helps. Cheers, Col

  2. Fantastic job guys and girls, just goes to show what can be done with a little dedication, flair and a reason to have a go!!! Well done it looks bloody fantastic.

    1. Thanks for the compliment Svenay, and welcome to the land of Sunshine and Paint Pots. Cheers, Col